Review

Song Review: Taeyeon – What Do I Call You

Though Taeyeon is still an idol performer by definition, her music has slowly transitioned to sounds I would expect from independent artists. While this has garnered her credibility in many circles, it’s not the type of thing I tend to gravitate to. It’s been over a year since a new Taeyeon release has really sparked my interest, and December’s penchant for slower, more sentimental fare doesn’t exactly bode well for What Do I Call You.

Last time Taeyeon graced us with a December comeback, it was in the form of a holiday-themed album. What Do I Call You is far less tethered to the season, grooving on an acoustic guitar driven beat that offers plenty of space for her vocals. The entire track is laidback, even as trap beats enter to provide percussion. Taeyeon does a nice job imbuing the melody with interesting twists and turns, though the song continually loops back to its titular hook.

I can see how this would be immensely appealing to fans of this style of track — or mega-fans of Taeyeon in general. For me, the whole thing feels a little throwaway. Despite some catchy chants during the finale, What Do I Call You doesn’t build to much. It feels like background music – something you can nod your head to without ever being pulled in deeper. But, I fully acknowledge my bias against mid-tempo tracks like these. Even Taeyeon’s always-incredible voice can’t quite overcome that barrier.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

13 thoughts on “Song Review: Taeyeon – What Do I Call You

  1. I like it with a small ell. It is very understated and, agree, almost indie. And only 2:44 long? Even at 2:44, the song has exhausted the creative ideas behind it and it is ready to end. That alone should have been a signal, that the song cannot be stretched further even if one wanted to.

    (OK, yes, every old song from back when, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, all clocked in at under 3:00, but there is enough meat on those that they can be stretched and covered and redone, with long instrumental in concert that there still was something left.) (Think about how long “Good Vibrations” really should be with all the musical ideas they packed into it, so packed they nicknamed it a “pocket symphony”.)

    The past few Taeyeon releases, I look forward to something really interesting tucked in there, something with an interesting vocal line, such as “Wine” or “I’m all ears”. For this time around, “Wildfire” is far more interesting than the lead single.

    Like

    • Off Topic!

      Super Junior was supposed to release their 10th full length album “Renaissance” this week, but they pushed it off until next year with the current covid wave.

      But BUT they did drop this goody for we Elves anyway. We don’t if this will be the lead single or the pre-release, but it does have full choreo so it could be either. Its like SuJu really wanted to do their own grand theatrical Road to the Kingdom-style performance. This one is all simple theatrics, well done, the simple hand held lights illuminating themselves and the space. Also, monster chorus. Also, full vocal bench. They even squeeze Heechul in there with his baritone. What, deep lines are popular these days, we can do that too!
      Wahhh! So excited!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am a sucker for big dramatic stuff and If Super Junior were in Mama 2020 with this performance, It would be my favorite performance of the night. It’s like the perfect dramatic song for super junior and I hope this would be the single. (Imagine if 2021 would be the trend for retro and dramatic stuff)

        But Off Topic to this Off Topic.
        Is it just me or is Super Junior songs hard to rank..

        I have Mr. Simple, Sorry Sorry , It’s You , Mamacita , Don’t Don , Sexy free and single , Devil!

        All of them are number 1 worthy!

        Off Topic to that Off Topic to the Off Topic.

        Sexy , Free and Single is a fun way of saying “I’m Lonely”.

        Like

        • Having 15 years of songs, it is challenging but how to pick, how to “HEY Mamacita nega ay yay yay yay yaahhhhhh”

          The lyrics are also very interesting, because they are openly nagging their own fan club to stop nagging them, A good lyric video is here – see the highest comment with extra lyric commentary.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKEl-R80NBA

          Like

        • The proper choreo video has been released this morning by label SJ (vs the above which is a bootleg from the awards show uploaded on a fan account with mediocre audio). Not only is the audio better, but the lighting effects are also better filmed.

          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEo14-UOM80

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I woke up and listened to this almost as the first thing I did this morning.
    ehhh I am unimpressed but I have the feeling this will be a smash hit. Taeyeon is such a gigantic force and her OST from Hotel Del Luna was an absolute smash smash smash. I think this will stick around for a while, but I’m really not that into it…

    Like

  3. I think the video really made the song for me. The song itself also suits the EP really nicely. As a standalone, I’d probably judge the same way, but when taken as part of the EP, I quite like it. This is one of her most cohesive, all-around pleasant EPs to date (Purpose was also a very cohesive sound, but not an EP).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m happy to see Taeyeon forging her own path instead of simply following trends and releasing obvious “hit” material. It’s brave to go this route, she definitely risks losing finicky fans, and not every single is gonna be a smash. This song hits the spot. Not too commercial, not overproduced, and showcases her vocal talents.

    Spark was impeccable, but a misstep, as it sounded uncomfortably close to something you’d have heard from Adele or Sia five or ten years ago.

    Still, I’ve become a bigger fan of hers in recent years and she’s earned my respect and I always eagerly look forward to her new music.

    Liked by 2 people

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